Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Namesake was golf giant

Many of the best young players in the Charlotte area are at Cedarwood Country Club this week playing in the Dick Tiddy Metro Junior championship.

Chances are the winners won’t be familiar with the man for whom the tournament is named but he was one of the giants of golf in this area.

Tiddy was a Charlotte native, who played college golf at Wake Forest with a fellow named Arnold Palmer, beginning a friendship that started in the 1940s and lasted until Tiddy passed away four years ago at age 74.

Tiddy was good enough to play the PGA Tour for a couple of years but he was a Hall of Famer as a teaching pro and all-around golf man. He knew how to make club members happy, cure swing flaws and brighten the days of everyone who came in contact with him.

He was the head pro at Charlotte Country Club before taking the same position at Cedarwood when it opened in the mid-1960s. But when Palmer called and asked Tiddy to run his beloved Bay Hill Club in Orlando in 1971, Tiddy moved south but kept his Charlotte connections alive.

For more than three decades, Tiddy taught golf at Bay Hill despite a series of health problems that gradually took away his ability to walk. Friends from Charlotte would routinely visit Bay Hill and Tiddy would return home where members of his family remain.

There was nothing he liked better than helping someone with their golf swing, whether it was a kid just learning the game or one of the many touring pros he put his trained eyes on. He made the game seem easy and I can remember him watching me hit high soft draws during a lesson and happily calling them ‘Carolina cut shots.’

Dick Tiddy was a big man, standing about 6-5 and weighing more than 250 pounds but he was larger than that in the ways that matter most.

He touched thousands of golf games and just as many lives, improving both.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Ron for such a nice article about my Uncle Dick. He was a true gentle giant. More often than not when I introduce myself to someone in Charlotte, I am asked if I am related to Dick Tiddy. I enjoyed helping with the Dick Tiddy Junior Tournament and am thankful that his name and memory are being kept alive here in Charlotte.
Thanks again! Brian Tiddy

Anonymous said...

tiddy was an alcho fuck up just like bott